California voters will decide whether to legalize marijuana

Discussion in 'General' started by ninjahood, Dec 22, 2009.

  1. ninjahood

    ninjahood

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    By Daniel B. Wood Staff writer / December 18,2009
    Los Angeles
    California continues to stay at the nation-leading edge of legal activity concerning marijuana use.
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    In 1996 it passed the first national initiative to make marijuana available by prescription to relieve pain, nausea, and other physical maladies. In July ofthis year, Oakland became - by a wide margin (80 percent to 20) - the first US city to assess a tax on the sale of marijuana.

    Now, a new initiative that will allow local governments to oversee and regulate cultivation, distribution, and sales - and to determine how and how muchcannabis can be bought and sold within area limits - will be on the November 2010 ballot. National advocates say that regardless of the vote - signaturegathering went fast and easy, according to reports - a major corner has been turned in national acceptance of marijuana use.

    "Regardless of what the voters decide in 2010, the genie is not going back in the bottle," says Paul Armentano, deputy director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). "A majority of west coast voters, andan estimated one-half of the national public, are demanding that we replace our nation's seven-decade-long policy of marijuana prohibition with one ofcontrolled regulation, taxation, and education."

    Armentano says the citizen's initiative is evidence that despite the growing public support for marijuana reform, a majority of elected officials stillperceive the issue to be a political liability rather than an opportunity.

    "As a result, it will be the voters, not the politicians, who will ultimately determine the direction of our nation's modern marijuanapolicies," he says.

    Other states take up the issue


    The California initiative comes amidst a flurry of activity nationally in the past two months after nearly two-decades of inactivity, according to BruceMirken, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project inWashington D. C., which advocates legalization of marijuana. California has a legislative bill in the offing, he says, as does Washington State while NewHampshire has recently introduced a bill and Rhode Island has adopted a commission to study ideas.

    "There are signs all over the place that this has reached critical mass," says Mirken, citing the photograph of Olympic superstar Michael Phelpslast summer. He also says that law enforcement agencies have begun to realize the high cost of arresting, trying, and incarcerating marijuana users - moneythat could be better spent elsewhere. [Editor's note: The original version of this story mischaracterized the situation involving Mr.Phelps.]

    "There is growing recognition that through our policies of prohibition, we have not stopped people from using marijuana, but rather handed thislucrative consumer market to some rather unsavory characters, including Mexican gangs," says Mirken. "There's a reason you don't see Mexicanwine cartels planting fields of cabernet sauvignon in Sequoia National Park, and people are beginning to understand that there really is a fundamentalirrationality to laws that tolerate the far more dangerous substance of alcohol."

    Substance abuse activists say the headlong rush to legalization in this initiative has other motivations that ripple out in negative ways.

    "Proponents of the proposed legislation are using the California fiscal crisis to say this will be a revenue-generating solution," says Jim Hall,Director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Drug Abuse at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. "What has been largely ignoredin the legalization meta-debate, however, is the impact the legislation could have on young people."
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    "We have developed a clear model with alcohol, but when we debate the legalization of marijuana, we don't address the potential lifelong impactthat earlier and easier access will have on young people," says Hall. "While the proposed legislation might generate a few tax dollars, we need toask what the cost to society will be for a whole generation exposed to the risk of lifelong substance abuse."

    'Right of passage' for adolescents?


    He says there needs to be a better way to change patterns of marijuana use as a rite of passage for adolescents. "Clearly, affording legal accessdistorts the message of why young people should not use marijuana. If it's legal, what's the big deal? So goes the mindset."

    Hall points out that for the last 20 years, nearly two-thirds of all first-time marijuana users have been below the age of 18. Statistics also show that theyounger a person begins marijuana use, the greater the risk of substance abuse later in life, he says. Therefore, it's important to ask a host ofquestions: Who is going to determine or regulate how marijuana is produced and distributed? Who will it be distributed by? How is the state going to collectthe taxes? Will it really have an impact on the illicit trafficking and production of marijuana? Will this lead to proposals to legalize other drugs?

    "This is a largely unexplored policy that raises important questions and potentially dire social risks," says Hall. "Before changing policy,let's honestly and thoroughly explore these questions."

    Initiative advocates point to safeguards


    Dan Newman, spokesman for the proposed Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act,counters that the initiative does includes significant safeguards and controls. For example, it will increase the penalty for providing marijuana to a minor,expressly prohibit the consumption of marijuana in public, forbids smoking marijuana while minors are present, and bans possession on school grounds.

    He also says that studies by state tax experts - the Board of Equalization and the Legislative Analyst Office - show that the initiative will generatebillions of dollars in revenue to fund schools, public safety, and other critical needs at a time when the state is desperate for resources.

    "For those reasons, and the fact that most Californians understand that the current drug laws aren't working, several recent polls show theinitiative [will win] support from a majority of voters," says Newman. "We're building a broad and diverse coalition that includes lawenforcement professionals who understand that regulating marijuana will put street drug dealers and organized crime out of business, while allowing police tofocus on protecting the public by preventing violent crime."
     
  2. mrdoeboi

    mrdoeboi

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    They need to hurry up and pass the damn thing already so I can move to the west
     
  3. ham city

    ham city Banned

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    It's about time. This was supposed to be voted on a loooooooong time ago.

    65+ % in favor easy.
     
  4. dynamic x

    dynamic x

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    [​IMG]
     
  5. cedric ceballos 1995 lakers

    cedric ceballos 1995 lakers Banned

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    cali > the other 49 states. and ill light up a blunt to that.

    other states are banning dutches while cali is moving forward
     
  6. junior strikes

    junior strikes

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    L.A.>>>>>

    VOTE[​IMG]
     
  7. jordan freak 32

    jordan freak 32

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    Deserves a big [​IMG]
     
  8. recycledpaper

    recycledpaper

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    sorry to say but this will not be passed.
     
  9. produccionfrescos

    produccionfrescos

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    Hopefully this passes.. A few weeks ago i was telling my boys we need to go back toLA and REALLY get into some *+** [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  10. tfromthe617

    tfromthe617

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    seriously.. there's a ton of things not even related to marijuana in MA that need to be done and they're busy wasting time banningflavored tobacco [​IMG]

    this is great though, huge step forward in the overall legalization process
     
  11. mrsneakerman

    mrsneakerman

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    Wow. This would be great. Hopefully it passes and then spreads nation wide.
     
  12. ninjahood

    ninjahood

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    care to elaborate on why? [​IMG]

    cali is broke, and any and every young person that can vote will.
     
  13. sick023

    sick023

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    QFT.
     
  14. maza4ever14

    maza4ever14

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    [​IMG]

    guess what my vote will be.

    Hopefully people REMEMBER to vote
     
  15. ham city

    ham city Banned

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    Do you live in California? I'm curious as to why you would think this.
     
  16. Mister Meaner

    Mister Meaner formerly super producer j

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    Don't make it legal, just decriminalize it to the point of a simple fine if caught selling or buying.

    I'm one to believe that once legal, demand will go bonkers, all the snickelfritz strains will run rampant, leading to higher prices for that good [​IMG]. Ohyea, supposed taxes to help a struggling economy won't be nice too.

    Isn't it already decriminalized further than any other state?
     
  17. ham city

    ham city Banned

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    Varies by region/city. Generally in the coastal and large metropolitan areas yes. In Oakland it's the last legal priority behind trafficcitations. [​IMG]
     
  18. Mister Meaner

    Mister Meaner formerly super producer j

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    Part of the reason I wanna go to school in Cali, but grad school + large amounts of green = life fail, probably.
     
  19. danikerhino

    danikerhino

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    It's going to be tough times for me, I'm trying to stay smoke-free.[​IMG]
     
  20. crank lucas

    crank lucas

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    new jersey is close also
     
  21. an dee 51o

    an dee 51o

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    [​IMG]

    Have we discusses this before? I believe that supply will increase as well though. Growing bud will be a legitimate crop, and I can see farmers starting to dothat.
     
  22. los yankees

    los yankees

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    Raising taxes never creates revenue. It wont pass because nobody outside of San Fran, LA, or SD will vote for it.
     
  23. danikerhino

    danikerhino

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    What?! Taxes pay for everything, you must be high.[​IMG]
     
  24. ham city

    ham city Banned

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    [​IMG] Nobody outside of those metropolitan areas matters though. And I'm not just saying that, I bet if you looked at the numbers, that'smore than the majority of California's voting population right there.
     
  25. los yankees

    los yankees

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    Like how gay marriage passed, right?